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US assures PH of security support

A top US defense official assured the Philippines of intensified defense and security cooperation in support of the Philippines’ efforts to build up its national defense capacity. US Department of Defense Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter made the assurance to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario in a meeting at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs office Tuesday. "We had a good discussion on intensifying our defense cooperation and the current challenges in the region. Dr. Carter reiterated the commitment of the US to work with us and support our efforts to strengthen our military and its ability to defend our country, " Del Rosario said. Both officials agreed that to support the military training and capacity building efforts of the Philippines, it is important that there be an increase in number of exercises and other approved activities between the military and defense establishments of the two countries. The US official also assured the Philippines that the US stands solidly behind the efforts of the Philippines to resolve the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea in a peaceful manner and consistent with the rule of law. “I welcomed Dr. Carter’s strong support for our efforts at peacefully settling the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea. We are committed to seeing this through,” Del Rosario said, referring to the arbitration case that the Philippines filed against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Both officials agreed that to increase the number of exercises and other approved activities between the military and defense establishments of the two countries. “This increased rotational presence will be crucial in allowing us to maximize our own investment in our defense,” Carter said. “We will be able to increase and maximize the value and returns of the 75 billion pesos the President has allocated for our defense for the next five years the increased rotational presence, exercises, training and other activities with US forces,“ Del Rosario added. Carter said he had always had an interest in the Philippines, starting when he first met and interacted with Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., father of President Benigno Aquino III, when both of them were members of the academe in institutions of high learning in Massachusetts, USA. Carter, who has served the US government in different capacities has been a member of the academe and think tanks, as well as private corporations. He holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford and bachelor’s degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale University.
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